Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TGIW Michigan PoliLinks

The Curmudgeon is considering hibernation this winter. Or moving to Panama or the U.S. Virgin Islands or the oh-so-dangerous gun-toting Sunshine State. Pure Michigan winters ain't much fun when you don't ice fish or ski...

A Totally Predictable Result

Our ideology-driven Legislature thinks preventing people from doing something incredibly stupid is Big Brotherism at its worst. So the geniuses decided to accept the fraudulent claims of the we-hate-motorcycle-helmets crowd regarding safety, and repealed Michigan's mandatory helmet law. Mind you, we still have a mandatory seat-belt law ... that's required by federal law (damn socialists).
So now we have a little data, and Surprise Surprise: the helmet law repeal has led to more deaths and serious injuries.
File this finding under "Duh."
It isn't just a joke, folks. People dying terrible deaths on the roads isn't funny.
According to a study by the U.M. Transportation Research Institute, reduced helmet use translates into 24 more deaths and 71 more serious injuries a year in Michigan.
Remember, this is a country that got its panties into a bind over Ebola which still hasn't killed a single American citizen.
And it isn't theoretical. It is happening thanks to the "yes" votes of a majority of legislators. They have blood on their hands for those votes.
What is sad: legislators, according to the linked article in Bridge magazine, are not even really interested in reinstating the helmet requirement.
Sayeth committee chair Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba): "It's not coming out of committee. I don't see any support for it." Casperson claims ignorance of any studies showing that the law is resulting in deaths and serious injuries. He apparently hasn't looked very hard.
The response, by the way, from the lobby group that pushed through the mandatory helmet repealer, Jim Rhoades of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, has a classic response to the academic study:
"These people just make things up."
What a tool.

Michigan Election Rigging Draws National Attention

The GOP scheme to move some of Michigan's electoral votes into the Republican column while still losing the election is drawing a lot of deserved national attention.
The latest version of the scheme, fronted by lame duck Republican Pete Lund, awards 9 of Michigan's electoral votes to the winner between Republicans and Democrats. The winner would received one additional electoral vote for every 1.5% his/her margin exceeds 50%. The plan totally ignores votes cast for third-party candidates. (Ross Perot received 8.7% of the 1996 vote in Michigan; if "fairness" is the criteria, that should be worth 1 electoral vote.)
A blogger at Daily Kos who uses the handle Karoli calls the Michigan plan the test case for Republicans which, if successful, would be copied in other Obama-carried states that are run (thanks to gerrymandering) by Republicans. That list includes Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania (until the end of the year, when Democrats take over the Governor's office), Wisconsin and Michigan. (If this is a such a pro-democracy move, why aren't they doing it in Texas?)
Maddow Blog editor Steve Benen notes that Lund plan is being pushed by national Republicans and cites an article in the National Review which calls the power grab "pretty tempting" because it would make it "nearly impossible" for a Democrat to be elected president. 

Detroit's Water Crisis: Another National Black Eye

The Daily Show has taken a look at Detroit's efforts to cut off water to poor people in the city (while ignoring corporate deadbeats who don't pay their water bills). In the process, Jessica Williams makes Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley look pretty cynical, hypocritical and callous, although I'm not sure Finley knows it.

Thank You

Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow both voted against the Keystone Pipeline.
The near-win for the multi-thousand-mile long pollution-disaster-in-waiting project was a testament to the busy savvy of the Koch brothers. While the pipeline with 1) not add to U.S. energy supplies, and 2) only create a handful of jobs, it would mean billions in profits for Davey and Chuck Koch. 
As for the supposed jobs benefits, the CEO of TransCanada conceded over the weekend that the project would only create 50 permanent jobs. (The temporary 4,000-to-9,000 projected construction jobs could more readily be created by much-needed public works projects like repairing roads, sewers and water systems nationwide.)

Will A Festivus Tree Highlight a Pure Michigan Holiday?

There are folks who want to put a pure Christian holiday display on the state Capital lawn: a nativity scene. While erecting a Walmart checkout lane might be a more appropriate symbol of the holiday season, The Curmudgeon understands the desires of Christians to pretend Christmas is still a religious holiday, and to celebrate it on public land owned by Christians and non-Christians alike. The request is under review by some commission in charge of what gets put on the Capital lawn. Appropriately its members include onetime Engler spinmeister John Truscott who knows an opportunity for an old-fashioned political mud fight when he sees one.
Frank Constanza introduces Jerry Seinfeld to the
Festivus Pole. Could it be coming to Michigan?
The creche would open the door to other "holiday" displays, both serious and whimsical. The precedent would be set for a display for Ramadan, Yom Kippur or a Shinto Matsuri (Google it!). But it would be open to more festive and even irreverent displays, as Jonathan Oosting gleefully notes in his mLive story.
I personally would love to invite Jerry Stiller to Pure Michigan to light the Festivus tree. Or maybe some celebrity chef could join us for the dedication of a display from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster display.

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